Monday, June 19, 2006

Game 67: Seanez Fails To Pitch Like A Man Afire

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 10, Atlanta Braves 7

Rudy Seanez certainly lives a charmed life, doesn’t he? Javier Lopez and, to a lesser extent, Manny Delcarmen might have set the table for Atlanta’s comeback in the seventh with a walk and a single respectively, but it was Seanez’s dead fastball to Francoeur that cleared the bases and gave Atlanta the lead. Truly Seanez’s outings are baffling: freakish occurrences of perfection gleam like fool’s gold in a group of truly terrible performances in high-pressure situations, the result seeming like shattered icebergs in an icy, unforgiving sea. Bringing in a reliever, especially one who’s there to put out a fire should be a calming event, like slipping slowly into a sun-bathed tropical sea. It should be like when Papelbon came in to get the last out of the eighth for Timlin, who was having an uncharacteristically bad day.

But no lasting goat honors for Seanez, even though with his performance yesterday we add another scar to the Red Sox Nation psyche. Aggravation fades quickly when your team improves on a record of 8 and 4 in games decided close and late and pick up its 22nd come-from-behind win. With two outs in the eighth, after both Papi and Manny struck out, the Sox opened up on the Braves bullpen and scored six runs (the first time they had done so after trailing in the seventh since 2001, against Tampa Bay) on a combination of walks, singles, a double and a home run, including RBI pinch hits by Lowell and Cora. Oh yes, Mr. Seanez, you owe the offense a big debt of gratitude: not even the two runs allowed by Timlin in the eighth could erase the victory you earned by getting the final out in the seventh, post-home run. If I was the conspiracy-oriented type, I might believe that you’re taking notes from Kyle Farnsworth.

Somehow we managed to escape from that road trip with a 3 and 3 record and a game up on New York – now it’s time to return to the green walls and pastures of Friendly Fenway and lay a beat-down on the Nationals. Former Red Sox prospect Tony Armas makes his Fenway debut for Washington versus Kyle Snyder, formerly of Kansas City via the waiver wire. Snyder, 28, threw two innings in his only appearance of the year: the Royals’ 16 – 12 beating of the Rangers on June 8. He gave up five earned runs on ten hits and striking out two. Excited yet? Yeah, me, too. Fortunately, he did better in the minors in 2006: 60.1 innings pitched, a WHIP of 1.20 and only 9 walks to 43 strikeouts. I guess we’ll see what those numbers translate to in Fenway, but I’m not holding my breath. GO SOX!!!